Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shop Talk Tuesday: When One Door Closes....

It's been a few weeks since I posted. Sorry about that. But I've been over on my group blog, Romance Writer's Revenge a lot more, for our final huzzah.

Over the summer, my blog mates and I decided to dock the ship permanently. September was our last month of blogging and our finale was yesterday.  

It has been an amazing run.

When we started the blog in 2007, we didn't know what we were doing.  Back then, I blogged every Thursday.  Our topics ran the gamut and we rambled on, trailing off on tangents, really getting a feel for ourselves and the other writers/readers that joined in the discussion.  I learned a whole lot about myself as an author because of the women on that blog. And I made some amazing friends.

I'm going to miss being there, checking for posts every day. Hearing each of the pirates' takes on the world.

For your part, you can still find each of the pirates at various spots on the web.  On my side bar, you'll find the links to each of their homepages.  I'll try to stay here and keep you entertained.  

So, from me, a virtual shout out and a huge smooshy hug to all the pirates.  I love you girls.  I wouldn't be who I am--as a writer or a person--if it hadn't been for you folks pushing me these past six years.  XOXO  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Shop Talk Tuesday: Motivation

I’ll admit: sometimes I procrastinate. Like now. Currently, it’s Monday night and I’m writing this blog. But I’m writing it because I SHOULD be working on the scene I’m almost done with but I just don’t wanna. The scene is hard. It’s required more research than I’ve done during the rest of the book combined.  (Magnetoencephalography. Go ahead and look it up. I’ll wait here…..  See?  Zzzzzzzzzzz)


I have exactly no motivation to read another thing about the electrophysiology of the brain. Or the different lobe functions. Or whatever else. I find parts of it fascinating, don’t get me wrong, but when they start talking about all the research that’s been done on the brain, all the different scientists, limitations of the work, etc. well… my eyes glaze over and MY brain shuts down.


So, I hit the internet. Pinterest, you saucy wench, I’m looking at you. Oh, another recipe for a cream cheese dip? Don’t mind if I do. Then I scan my FB timeline and I start chatting on Twitter.


Let’s face it: if we want to escape from a task, there are no shortage of places to get lost here. In fact, writing this blog is productive, in comparison. At least this is work related.


Where am I going with this? Oh right. Motivation. What keeps me going back for more? Because this sort of stuff is hard. I’ve written other stories that have required research. Sometimes it was awesome. I’d fall down the rabbit hole willingly. Other times, not so much. The night I spent trying to figure out how long it would take to get from point A in England to point B, on horseback, for example.  Ugh. I had to know, but I would have preferred to pass over that and get back to the story. Right now I need to know how the brain functions. At least with passable authority. That has required a bit of research. Into science. For this English major.


I know. Ouch.


But, the story requires it so I need to do it. I will remind myself that it serves a greater purpose: making my story into the best end result I can manage. Then I will focus on that and it will get me going again.  

A great end result. That's the goal. Sometimes I need a reminder. And some weeks I need more reminders than usual. Like weeks that require neurology lessons.

So, tell me… what motivates you?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shop Talk Tuesday: Writing the Query

Let's talk about query writing.

If you didn't notice--or look yet--I updated my Books tab above with a blurb about my latest project.  Go check it out, I'll wait here.

*pipes in Jeopardy theme music*

I admit: I really dislike writing these things. I actually don't know anyone who loves to write them.  Some writers like them more than others (ahem, I'm talking about you, Terri Osburn).  But no one loves this part.

I think part of my problem is that I'm not really good at marketing, myself or my books.  I'm getting better, but it's hard. Selling something is a completely different skill set than creating something. These couple of paragraphs have to hook the reader. They need to take the inciting actions in the book and turn them into something that will make someone say, "I need to read this NOW!"  You only get a few sentences.  Actually, some would argue you only get one sentence. If the first sentence is boring, some people will stop reading. Probably many people.

No pressure, right?

I have learned a couple of things, though. The query doesn't have to tell the whole story.  It just has to give enough to be provocative.

It needs to say what starts the action and then hint at how they start to resolve it. This is good news. It means all you have to do is condense about 1/3 or 1/2 of your book into a few sentences.  That's much easier than condensing the entire book into a few sentences.

*eye roll*

I think it's also beneficial to get your voice in there.  A taste of what the reader can expect.

What have you learned about blurb/query writing?  Any pointers are helpful!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Blurb is up!

I didn't get to post anything else this week but I'll be back on Tuesday to talk shop.

In the mean time, feel free to click on the Books tab above and read the blurb for my newest story!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Shop Talk Tuesday: Revisions, Oh My

I finished the first draft of my YA/NA story a few weeks ago. 
Yay!  But Ugh.  Because now begins the hard part: revising. Yes, I think revisions are harder than finishing the book. 

I’ve let it sit as long as I can stand and it’s time to start diving back in.

Some people love revisions. I like it when I’m in the middle of it. Maybe it’s my inner Virgo. Setting things right, setting order to chaos. But, when I’m staring it in the face, it sorta makes me feel like this guy:

(If you didn’t go watch the video, you really should. It’s a ram, attacking a motorbiker. Really.)

Anyway. Revisions. They’re daunting. Like an angry ram in your face.

The only way I can even attempt them is to go at it with a clear plan. (I’m a Virgo, remember?)  I start big. Big picture items. Plot holes. Character inconsistencies. Stuff like that. Then I read to see if the tone is right. If the pacing is right. It’s only after I tackle those things that I can manage the grammar and the smaller word choice issues.

So, I’m in it now. Starting to read and look for big picture items.


How do you go about revising? Do you have a plan of attack? How about that ram? Sorry, but I laughed hysterically.  There’s probably something wrong with me.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Long Time No See!

Hello dear readers!

I have been a horrendous slacker when it's come to this blog.

Part of it is that I blog with a great group of girls at the Romance Writer's Revenge so I usually say my most interesting stuff over there.  (Fine, sometimes even my not-so interesting stuff too.) Part of it is that I have little people underfoot a lot, especially in the summertime.  My DSs are 6 and 3. They keep me away from the computer and on my toes. Recently, most of my computer face time has been reserved for writing.

But come September, things are going to change up. (I hope!) My sons will both be in school, full time for the older, just a couple days a week for the younger.  I should have more time.

I'm making a resolution to be here more often. To give myself some incentive, I'm going to set up a little bit of a blog schedule. It's not a rule, just a suggestion.  :)

Tuesdays will be Shop Talk Tuesdays, when I talk about my progress, what I'm working on, what's holding me up. Things related to writing craft and business.  These posts will be my most regular posts. I'd like to post on Tuesday every week.

On Thursdays, I'll use to post things unrelated to writing. Maybe recipes. Maybe holiday related. Who knows?

Fridays I'll reserve for book releases, promotion of books, or for book recommendations.

I'm also going to try to update my book information more often. For example, I finished the first draft of GLORY, the YA/NA I've been working on.  I'll have a blurb together as soon as I can.

This is the plan, folks.  Let's see how it works out!

Do you blog?  If so, how often?  If not, why?  If you do, leave a link below so I can connect with you!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Is It a Break or a Break-Up?

Again, I've been away a while.  I'm sorry.  But I'm back!  With a new header and everything.  And a new story!  But more on that in a minute....

If you've watched Friends, my title will make sense to you.  If you haven't, you'll miss the context.

This is a post about whether a story that's hit a brick wall is done for good or done for now.

I spent the winter working on a Victorian historical romance. I've written a couple historical romances, but my previous stories have been Regency-set. This story required a bit more modern thinking, so I moved it forward to give my heroine a credible career.

I finished a draft. At least I got to the black moment. I couldn't go further than the black moment.  I told myself I'd figure it out in the next draft.

I revised.  I pondered.  I changed some characterization and refined some plot twists. I added a conflict. 

I thought I had it, I'll be honest. 

But, again, I got to the black moment and well, it just didn't feel that black. 

Then I stalled out.

So it sat for a month. I opened the file. I stared at it.  I refined here, adjusted there, to no avail.

I think the problem is lack of conflict in the second half.  For the life of me I can't figure out what the real conflict of that part is. 

After much soul searching, I've decided to set it aside for now.  I'm not sure if it's a break or a break-up yet.  I needed to write something else. Maybe I'll find that spark, that thing that I was missing in the story and I'll come back, revitalized.  Then again, maybe I won't. For now, I refuse to let it bog me down.

I've started working on something else.  It's a Upper YA/New Adult story.  I'll give more details in a bit, when I have a decent blurb together.  Right now, I'm just writing. 

Hope you all are well!

So tell me.... Have you ever set a story aside for a while and come back? Or have you ever abandoned one completely, that close to the end?  Why?